Ultimate Cheese Board
Our simple guide to a delicious, gorgeous cheese spread.
Pick your Cheese
- Try to include cheeses with different flavors and textures. Balance the sweet with the pungent, the firm with the creamy. It’s great to hit the following categories: firm, soft, aged, blue. Here are some classics we like:
- Firm: Manchego, Parmigiano Regiano, Mimollete
- Soft: Camembert, Brie
- Aged: Smoked Gouda, Cheddar
- Blue: Valdeón, Stilton, Gorgonzola Dolce
- We also like to serve cheeses with varying milks (goat, sheep, cow) so that people with different allergens can always find something they like.
- We served the following cheeses (clockwise starting with the blue cheese): Saint Agur Blue Cheese (soft, pungent, cow’s milk), Four Fat Fowls St. Stephen’s Triple Cream (soft, mild, cow’s milk), Mimolette (firm, mildly sharp, cow’s milk), Trigal Aged Manchego (firm, mild, sheep’s milk), Humboldt Fog (soft, pungent, goat’s milk)
How much Cheese?
- We recommend 3 to 4 ounces per person for an appetizer or dessert course.
- Finding the perfect accompaniments to your cheese is a great way to get creative. A few of our go-to’s are olives, sweet and savory jams, honey, charcuterie, mustard, and of course, bread and/or crackers.
- For our board, we served the following accompaniments: assorted Greek olives, fig and ginger jam, roasted garlic jam, spiced pecans (recipe below), lavender honey (recipe below), chorizo salami, genoa salami, pork pâté, whole grain mustard, sliced French baguette, and rosemary crackers. The lavender honey and chorizo go great with Manchego and the pâté goes well with a whole grain mustard. The savory jams are a delightful and unique addition to sweet, rich cheeses.
- Varying textures add a lot of interest, so that’s why we like to serve soft sliced French baguette and crackers. The bread goes well with firm cheese and the crackers make it easier to enjoy the soft cheese.
- Fresh herbs add a lovely pop of color and aroma to any cheese plate. We used whatever herbs were looking good that day from our garden: rosemary, oregano, and thyme.
- Setting out a separate knife for each cheese is important, especially the soft varieties. Soft cheese spreads well with a butter knife; firm cheese might require a paring knife; and aged cheese often requires a cheese plane. When setting up your cheese plate, be sure to keep strong-smelling cheeses away from other cheeses, as you can see we did with our blue cheese.
- Be sure to remove your cheese from the fridge a minimum of one hour before serving…they taste better at room temperature!
Lavender Honey Recipe
- 1 cup of good quality natural honey
- 1 tablespoon of dried lavender flowers
- Warm the honey in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the lavender. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Warm the honey and lavender mixture over low heat until it is thin enough to pour freely. Strain through a wire sieve into a clean jar. Cool and cover.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Serve at room temperature.
Spiced Pecans Recipe
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon dried ground orange peel
- 1 pound pecan halves
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- Mix the salt, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and orange peel together and set aside.
- Heat nuts in an iron skillet over medium heat. Cook while stirring for 4 to 5 minutes, until they just start to brown and smell toasted. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Add the spice mixture and stir to combine.
- Once combined, add both sugars and water, stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the nuts, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the nuts to the prepared sheetpan and separate them with a fork or spatula.
- Allow the nuts to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for storage. Can be stored up to 3 weeks.